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Hooters franchisee gambles on gaming

SEATTLE Hooters franchisee Altium Development Group is set to open two units in the Seattle area that will feature a card room for table games such as Texas Hold’em, blackjack or mini baccarat.

One of the two units, scheduled to open Sept. 24 in the south Seattle neighborhood of South Park, will feature a dueling piano bar in addition to the card room. The other location, in the Seattle suburb of Renton, Wash., is scheduled to open in October and will feature a 24-lane bowling alley decorated with the Hooters’ orange and white motif.

Ed Pilarz, president of Altium said the dual gaming-entertainment and restaurant concept “makes sense because the target consumer of Hooters is so well-matched with the local casino player.”

“We estimate that 75 percent of local casino patrons are casual players,” he said, “and so a restaurant with a casual, unpretentious and fun atmosphere is going to increase casino business and visa versa … especially with the addition of bowling and a piano bar.”

Mike McNeil, vice president of marketing for franchisor Hooters of America Inc., in Atlanta, said the 450-unit chain includes a Hooters casino in Las Vegas, as well as additional units in Washington that offer gaming, largely because of state laws that allow the opportunity. Another franchised location in Spokane, Wash., for example offers a card room.

Altium’s South Park location is located in a remodeled casino located near an industrial center. As Hooters, it will feature 15 table games in a 6,000-square-foot area, including options such as Texas Hold’em, blackjack, Spanish 21, pai gow, mini baccarat and four-card poker. The card room will allow patrons 21 years and up and will feature a limited menu.

Adjacent will be a 2,000-square foot area with a dueling piano bar, which will also be available for special events. The lounge area within the bar will offer a video wall broadcasting Seattle Seahawk games and other pay-per-view sporting events.

The location will also feature a walk-up express service window offering a limited menu. The window is designed for convenience to serve the many shift employees in the area. It will offer such menu items as hot wings, tater tots, “Hand Wiches,” which are served on flat bread, and mini corn dogs.

Altium, based in Chicago, operates two other Hooters locations in Western Washington, and more are planned, officials said.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].

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